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Outback Bowl Corner
The Outback Bowl has been an annual college football bowl game since 1986. From 1986 through 1994, the bowl game was known as the Hall of Fame Bowl. Outback Steakhouse, a national restaurant chain, purchased the naming rights to the bowl game in 1994 and the bowl game has been called the Outback Bowl game ever since.
The 2008-9 Outback Bowl game will be played on January 1, 2009. The 2008-9 Outback Bowl game will feature 2 NCAA college football teams that will be ranked in the top 25 of the Associated Press Poll and the Coaches Poll preceding the contest.
The Outback Bowl game will be televised on the ESPN Sports television network.
Outback Bowl History
From 1986 through 1994, the bowl game was known as the Hall of Fame Bowl. Outback Steakhouse, a national restaurant chain, purchased the naming rights to the bowl game in 1994 and the bowl game has been called the Outback Bowl game ever since. The Outback Bowl also has ties to the All-American Bowl which was played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama from 1977 through 1985. The All-American Bowl was known as the Hall of Fame Classic from 1977 through 1985. Following the 1985 Hall of Fame Classic, representatives from the College Football Hall of Fame and the National Football Foundation elected to re-locate the Hall of Fame Classic to Tampa, Florida. That Hall of Fame Bowl game is the bowl game now known as the Outback Bowl. After the Hall of Fame Classic moved to Tampa, the All-American Bowl game was still played in Birmingham, Alabama for 5 additional years until it was abandoned in 1991.
From 1986 through 1988, the Hall of Fame Bowl game was played in Tampa Stadium which later became known as Houlihan’s Stadium. In 1999, the Hall of Fame Bowl game moved to Raymond James Stadium – “The New Sombrero” – and the bowl game has been played there ever since.
Since 1996, the Outback Bowl has honored an exclusive arrangement with the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Big Ten Conference. Currently, the Outback Bowl game features the 3rd place SEC team against the 3rd place Big Ten team. Each participating school is entitled to a minimum payout of $3 million.
Boston College defeated Georgia 27-24 in the inaugural Outback Bowl game which occurred on December 23, 1986. Three universities are tied for the most Outback Bowl game victories with 3 wins each – the Georgia Bulldogs, the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Penn State Nittany Lions. Two other universities – Syracuse University and South Carolina – are next on the list with 2 victories each. Ohio State University holds the record for most losses in the history of the Outback Bowl game with 4 losses, including back-to-back losses to South Carolina in the 2001 and 2002 Outback Bowl games. The University of Florida is the only other university with more than 1 loss in the history of the Outback Bowl. Florida lost back-to-back Outback Bowl contests in 2003 (to the University of Michigan 38-30) and in 2004 (to Iowa 37-17).
In more recent history, on January 1, 2005, the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Wisconsin Badgers in a hard fought contest 24-21. Although the first 20 minutes featured a defensive struggle whereby the Badgers took a short-lived 6-3 lead over the Bulldogs, the Bulldogs offense exploded with touchdown passes by Quarterback David Greene in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and over 110 yards rushing and a touchdown from Running Back Thomas Brown. Georgia Defensive End David Pollack was named the Most Valuable Player of the contest for his 3 sacks, one of which caused a key Badger fumble which sealed the victory at the end of the game. On January 2, 2006, the University of Florida defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 31-24. Florida Wide Receiver Dallas Baker was named the Most Valuable Player of the contest with 10 receptions for 148 yards, including 2 key touchdowns from Florida Quarterback Chris Leak. The win gave first-year Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer his second straight bowl victory (the first coming with Utah in the Fiesta Bowl) and a 9-3 record as head coach of the Gators.
Raymond James Stadium
From 1986 through 1988, the Outback Bowl game (formerly the Hall of Fame Bowl) was played in Tampa Stadium which later became known as Houlihan’s Stadium. In 1999, the Outback Bowl game moved to Raymond James Stadium – “The New Sombrero” – and the bowl game has been played there ever since. Raymond James Stadium holds a seating capacity of up to 65,657 raucous college football fans for the annual Outback Bowl. For special events, Raymond James Stadium can hold a seating capacity of up to 75,000 fans. In addition to hosting the annual Outback Bowl, Raymond James Stadium is the home stadium for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League and the USF Bulls college football team. Raymond James Stadium also hosted Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 when the Baltimore Ravens crushed the New York Giants 34-7 and is slated to host Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.
Raymond James Stadium
One Buccaneer Place
Tampa, Florida 33607